By Ntombi Mhlongo
If well implemented, the Trade Activation Programme (TAP) is set to become a perfect platform for the Kingdom of Eswatini to tap into the opportunities that are presented by the African Free Continental Trade Area (AfCTA). The TAP has been made possible by a collaboration between the Eswatini Investment Promotion Authority (EIPA) and The Village Foundation, a South African organisation which focuses on entrepreneurial development. The TAP at its core aims to achieve the coming together of African entrepreneurs across the continent to promote and encourage intra-Africa trade through leveraging the AfCFTA.
The programme is designed to cover an array of integral business areas that provide the tools that will empower entrepreneurs to become active trade participants in the global market.
During the launch at the Happy Valley, the TAP invited the country’s entrepreneurs to participate – earning an internationally accredited certificate, an opportunity to interact with the AfCFTA agreement policymakers, be part of the solution by collaborating with various strategic partners, key stakeholders, and fellow entrepreneurs to promote trade on the continent.
“Through TAP, entrepreneurs are enabled to gain knowledge and forge businesses relationship ensuring maximum benefits. The purpose is to promote intra-African trade and grow the African entrepreneurial network across continental borders through the implementation of the AfCFTA,” it was mentioned at the launch.
The Village Foundation will annually host 2 500 entrepreneurs from all over Africa to participate in the TAP.
The organisation said having Emaswati being part of the 2 500 entrepreneurs will put the Kingdom of Eswatini on the map.
To ensure that Africa’s entrepreneurs are equipped for the implementation of the AfCFTA, through TAP, the programme is run and executed in partnership with the AfCFTA Secretariat.
The Village Foundation works with various continental agencies and trade ministries across Africa that promote entrepreneurship and trade. 2. Entrepreneurs meet and connect with other entrepreneurs from across the continent to learn and collaborate so that trade can be promoted among each other.
Speaking at the launch, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Manqoba Khumalo said he believed that the partnership with The Village Foundation will significantly enhance the government’s efforts to improve the competitiveness of the MSME sector to tap into local, regional, and international markets.
“This partnership comes at an opportune time when the economy is recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am certain that the extensive knowledge and expertise that The Village Foundation brings is what is needed for our enterprises to build back better and take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the AfCFTA,” Khumalo said.